Helena Gullström was born and raised in Sunne, Sweden, a small town in the western part of the country. She currently resides in Los Angeles. With painting and drawing being an important part of her life, she began serious study with Franklin Liegel at the Otis Parsons School of Art Design in Los Angeles. Currently, Gullström is working on a series of sculptures and paintings made out of concrete and mixed media. She has always loved concrete as a material and she’s finding that it’s a very versatile material with so many possibilities.
Q: If you weren’t an artist what would you be
A: I would probably be a designer of sorts. I always wanted to design furniture, lamps etc. Interior designer or an architect perhaps? Another cool occupation would be as a psychologist. I love picking peoples minds and analyzing.
Q: Did your early life in Sweden influence your art? How?
A: I’m sure it did, as I’m positive everyone’s background does affect who we are. I have come to realize that culturally we are very different, even if it might not seem like it at a first glance. It seems that even if I have been here for quite a while, I still have a genetic color code. I seem to choose colors and materials that are typical for the Scandinavian countries. On my last trip home I was amused to see how connected I felt to what’s going on there in art and design, being that I don’t go there that often and that I’m not that immersed in their art scene.
Q: How do you handle the business side of your art?
A: Hmm.. Do I? While thinking mostly with the right side, as they say, I’m trying to wake up the left side. I’m a work in progress.
Q: What advice would you give to the little boys & girls out there who want to be artists when they grow up?
A: Keep that dream alive. I have always wanted to be an artist and although at times it seemed childish to have a dream like that, I just knew in the back of my mind that this is what I’m meant to do. Do it for the right reasons, do it because it makes you feel alive and complete, then if you happen to sell something in the future, that’s just extra wonderful.
Q: Where do you find your subject matter?
A: Everywhere! I live downtown LA and there’s plenty to get inspired by. I have more of an opposite problem. Too many ideas and to few hands.
Q: Every artist has a personal ‘creative process’ -What is yours?
A: I need to get emotionally involved with the idea that comes up. It’s very likely that the project involves new materials (to me) and that I have to learn as I go, but it’s the passion for the idea and the experimenting that I thrive on. If I get stuck and frustrated, I just keep trying, knowing that I will discover something great in the process, even if it seems highly unlikely at times.
Q: Do you think people are born to be artists or can one develop their craft as long as they have the desire?
A: I’m not a great craftsman, but I have the ideas and the will to execute them. You might be born extremely talented, but if you lack the passion, what good does it do? Of course you need some talent, but I think that the passion is more important. It comes back to why you make art. To please others or to do it because it completes you?
Q: For each word below, give the first thought that comes to your mind: